NORFOLK — In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the Dental Hygiene Care Facility will be offering free oral cancer screening during the month of April.
“The goal is to promote awareness of oral cancer in the campus community and provide an important community service activity that may save a person’s life,” said professor Lynn Tolle, with the School of Dental Hygiene.
About 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer every year in the United States. It kills one person every hour of every day, and about 130 people will be diagnosed with it each day. Oral cancer occurs twice as often in blacks than whites and twice as often in men than women. The good news is that it can often be discovered early in its development through a simple, painless, and quick screening.
The fastest-growing segment of the oral cancer population are young, non-smoking individuals who contract the disease from human papillomavirus, which also causes cervical cancers. Since it is the most common sexually transferred infection in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that between 50 percent and 80 percent of the nation will have HPV at some point in their lifetime.
With early detection, oral cancer survival rates are high and the side effects from treatment are at their lowest. Early indicators of oral cancer are red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth, a sore that does not heal within two weeks, or hoarseness that lasts for a prolonged period of time.
Oral and oropharyngeal cancers should be screened for annually starting around the age of 18. If an individual uses tobacco products, screening for them should begin at the age they commence tobacco use. Visual and tactile screenings are quick, painless, and non-invasive to undergo. Take advantage of this free offer and get screened at the Dental Hygiene Care Facility today located on the first floor of the College of Health Sciences building.
Call 757-683-4308 to make an appointment. For more information about oral cancer, log onto The Oral Cancer Foundation’s official website here.